Two-time U.S. Open champ to play in AAPT Champs

Updated: January 6, 2004, 7:54 PM ET
Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia -- Two-time U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter will end his yearlong retirement next month by playing in a doubles match.

He will compete at the AAPT Championships in Adelaide, but the promoter says the former No. 1 player has ruled out a full-scale comeback.

Rafter will play with fellow Australian Josh Eagle at the season-opening event, starting Jan. 5.

Rafter, 30, contacted tournament director Colin Stubs last weekend to request a wild card, saying he needed match practice for a Feb. 2 exhibition with Mats Wilander.

"This is an unexpected chance for the people of Adelaide to show their appreciation to a great Australian," Stubs said Tuesday.

Rafter retired from the ATP Tour last January following a 12-month break to consider his future. His last official match was Australia's 3-2 loss to France in the Davis Cup final in December 2001.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press